Movie-character stereotypes

This thread is inspired by an essay that mentioned the movie “The Gift.” It said (speaking of Giovanni Ribisi’s character) “in the movies, Southern character + working class = halfwit.” I half to give the essayist a lot of credit for pointing this out, since she works in Chicago. But it got me to thinking. What other easily identifiable characters are there in most movies? I’ve listed the few I could think of on short notice.

middle-aged married mother = sexually unfulfilled

young black man + urban environment = gang member

attractive female corporate executive = pushy bitch

white people + rural environment = ignorant hicks

attractive young male corporate executive = supercilious, overpromoted jerk

college student (any time or place) = crazy for sex

Of course there are movies that have exceptions to each of these, but I think they capture the majority of “Hollywood” films.

Male lawyers are shifty. Women lawyers are super-efficient Suits.
Businessmen are ruthless and concerned only with money.
Whores have a heart of gold.
Germans are evil, no matter what the time period. (After all, if they were supposed to be sympathetic characters they would simply be re-scripted as Danes or Czechs.)
Waitresses chew gum and wear aprons.
Waiters are aloof and prim.
Anvil salesmen look weak, but are deceptively strong for a cheap gag. (In The Music Man only):smiley:

In a war movie, anyone who talks about his plans after the war will die.

The villian can only die in direct combat with the hero, usually hand-to-hand.

Aliens fall into two categories: cute (e.g., E.T.) or mindlessly evil (e.g., Independence Day)

In science fiction movies, the mentally ill are always right (e.g., Them!).

RC – speaking of evil villains, check out this site:

Great stuff.

In old black and white hollywood movies, the hero is always easy to spot: usually 6" taller than everyone else with short, lightly wavy hair.

Kids in scifi movies are always right and/or much more talented than anyone else.

Swarthy = bad 9 out 10 times.

If you are in a horror movie and you are black or Hispanic, you are monster meat.

If you are a desk sergeant in the police force, you are extremely corrupt and are probably involved in some kind of crime ring.

If you are elderly and Asian, you are extremely wise.

If you are young and Asian, you know kung fu.

Black people in movies with white people are there to provide moral and spiritual insight to the white people, and gay people in movies with straight people are there to comfort them through their romantic relationships, which the gay people never seem to have themselves.

If you are male and about to die for some reason, you get to have sex with a gorgeous babe the night before you go.

If you are a female lead and get to have sex, it always ends up being an emotionally traumatic experience.

If you are a teenager and attempt to have sex, you die.

Evil villains used to be mostly Asian or from eastern Europe, but now are mainly British.

No matter what the crime, at some point during the investigation the detectives will have to visit a strip bar.

Bartenders always know the villain, but have to be roughed up a bit before they will admit it.

Men in Southern California always wear jackets or sport coats, even when it appears to be about 110 deg. F outside. This was especially true in the 1970’s.

Brits tend to play Germans.

Americans tend to play Brits.

Australians tend to play Americans.

In sci-fi movies, the mentally retarded character will always possess some mental gift that ends up saving everyone else. Usually, this gift is revealed just after the other characters have had a big fight over whether or not the retarded character should be abandoned because he’s “dead weight”.


Private Detective are brave, tough, gritty, honest men who stand up to the Mob…oh, just all the time.

[sub]They’re actually blackmailing weasels that would sell out their own mothers.[/sub]

Not if the movie’s a western.

What can I add? Hmm…

Highly skilled warrior + oath never to fight again = oathbreaker

Female + glasses + repression = intelligent*

Female + large breasts + libido = stupid*

Blond hair + sultry beauty = hero’s love**

Black hair + sultry beauty = evil**

*Applies chiefly in cheap horror movies

**Applies chiefly before 1980

Good old “Italian people have accents like they just got off the boat and are (of course) all in the mob.”

I’m reminded of the hilarious MST3K episode (“Mitchell!”) when two gangsters are on a park bench discussing some illegal deed and patheticly attempting Italian accents. (“Hey, he’s-a notta gooda guy!” etc.) Joel quipped: “Hey! Cos I’m-a Italian, don’tcha know!”

Roger Ebert was recently wishing (during a review of “Sweet November”) for one of these mysterious gay friends whose only purpose in life was to drop by the apartment to be witty, then return and bring him soup when he was at death’s door. :smiley:

I for one am sick of the MAAF–the Magical African-American Friend. Everyone knows that Black people are just so much more spiritual and happy than white people. And they are just waiting around for a white person they can teach to laugh, love, and live. Gag.

The other thing that annoys me. If there’s been a series of murders, it’s always a businessman, a scientist, or a clergyman. According to movies, 90% of all murders must be done by CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.

Engineers/research scientists are

  1. Socially incompetent, spineless nerds
  2. Evil megalomaniacs trying take over/destroy the world
  3. Hi Opal! :smiley:
  4. Both 1 & 2.

[sub]Brief pause to celebrate the loss of my “Hi Opal” virginity[/sub]

Been watching “Cube,” Sublight?

Don’t tell me none of you have seen this site:

The Movie Cliches List

Check out the latest issue of the The Onion. :slight_smile: